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Unread 12-01-2009, 06:09 PM   #1
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Default 96 Camry dripping from catalytic converter

After a longer drive my catalytic converter steams/drips a liquid. What could this be? It smells a little.
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Unread 12-01-2009, 06:19 PM   #2
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Does it smell sweet? IF it does, you're likely leaking coolant into the exhaust somehow.

Edit: IF it's just straight water, I'm guessing condensation. Those things to get pretty warm in service, after all. There's probably a point in their warmup and cooldown cycles, especially with the weather snapping cold, where they may condense atmospheric moisture and steam a bit/drip water. If that's the case, it's probably completely normal.
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Unread 12-01-2009, 06:39 PM   #3
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Yeah, I know water in the exhaust is caused by condensation, but that should stop after the engine has warmed up. This was after 30-40 minutes of driving.
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1998 Nissan 200sx SE | i4 1.6L | 83,000 miles | Green | Running 100% |

1996 Nissan Sentra | i4 1.6L | 122,000 miles |Black |
2001 Nissan Maxima | V6 3.0L | 94,000 miles | Black |
2010 Toyota Camry | i4 2.5L | 5,500 miles | Silver |
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Unread 12-01-2009, 06:50 PM   #4
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Condensation from the outside of the converter will happen on cooldown as well. It's pulling water out of the air, much like a coke would do on a sticky summer day. Has little to do with how long the engine has been running so long as the converter has warmed up enough.

Pure H20 is also a proper by-product of burning gasoline, even fully warmed up. A warmed engine will output either liquid water(generally vapor that's had a chance to condense in the exhaust system before leaving) or clear vapor. I've seen a few newer cars belch out a few ounces after a long idle. It's a sign of good combustion. You may be getting some condensing from exhaust still in the system, which runs into the converter and steams.


As long as you don't smell coolant in it, you don't have anything to worry about. Straight water does not mean you've got any internal engine problems. I'd imagine this time of year that if you were running pure water in the cooling system, you would have blown out core plugs a long time ago.
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My rigs:

1985 Ford F150 | 4x2 | 300ci OHV inline six | 4-speed OD manual | 310K | No power brakes | Running 100% - It hasn't driven this good in 15 years!

1984 Ford F150 | 4x2 | 300ci six | granny four | 3.55 rear end | 210K | Brakes shot. Rear drums are doing most of the work. Not fit to drive due to that.
1997 Ford Explorer XLT | 4.0L Vulcan V6 | 5-speed automatic | shift-on-the-fly 4WD | 210,000 miles | Running 95% - Needs brakes on all four corners + bald tires
1989 Ford F150 | 300cid six...again | 5-speed | 4x4 | 160K | Needs brakes done as well. Oi!

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Unread 12-01-2009, 07:22 PM   #5
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Tomorrow when I get home I'll catch some of the dripping fluid on paper and smell it. Hopefully it's just water!
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2001 Nissan Maxima | V6 3.0L | 94,000 miles | Black |
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Unread 12-01-2009, 10:15 PM   #6
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my focus literally pee's, and smokes very little when it gets chilly out (although way less than my parents Accord, but that car hasn't even hit 3K miles yet, I'm chocking it up to newness. )
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Unread 12-01-2009, 11:01 PM   #7
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Are you sure it's coming from inside the cat and not from above it? If it's coming from inside then like they said it's probably water, but you have an exhaust leak. Check and see if it's coming from somewhere above the cat, or in the engine bay running down the pipe.

Then again you may have just had something splash up there before parking.

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